By the end of the day
June, 06th 2011
August 1963 to September 1991
AU / A person dies and another one is born, a person disappears while another one appears someplace else, fate is handing out the cards and you don't know if it will be for the better or the worse – life simply unfolds itself …
What happens in our lives shapes our personality. What if we got a chance to go back and to change the lives of the ones we hold dear? Would we really be able to change things for the better? Would we really be able to deceive fate?
Thank you for reading ...
Well … I do not own Harry Potter, nor Hogwarts, his friends or his belongings … J. K. Rowling owns them all … I just borrow them a bit to play with them … uhm … and well … sorry for the confusion I create at Hogwarts … I am sure I can straighten it out after I am done with this … I at least promise to try …
M – Not suitable for children or teens below the age of 16
Uhm … ok … I have to admit … English is not my language by birth … so … please do not kill me while reading … neither for the bad English I use, nor for what I am writing …
Story contains references to child abuse.
Child abuse is a really serious thing, it is an evil thing and there are a lot of children in our world that really would need help without being helped, and closing our eyes and pretending it does not exist – is no solution …
I only say – remind yourself of your feelings, of your sympathy, and of your understanding … and handle people, children as well as adults, which are showing any signs – whichever – of once being abused … with understanding and with help …
What does not mean I am not as evil as I pretend to be … ^.~ … believe me – I am …
Breåk· … ·~†~*~*~*~*~*~†~· … ·Łine
By the end of the day
Prologue – just one more day
July, 31st 1980 – Amity Manor – 08:14 pm
By the end of the day everything had changed. By the end of the day his life seemed to crumble at his feet. By the end of the day – he was sitting in an armchair near the fireplace in the large parlour at Amity Manor, bent forwards, his elbows on his thighs and his head rested in his hands, crying for the first time since he had been a child.
By the end of the day he had lost all that had been dear to him.
He definitely was not a kind man – and surely not a kind teacher either. He was a person that expected respect and obedience and he was a person that displayed the dignity he had been taught by his father.
His father had been the strangest man he ever had known.
He had been kind and gentle – yet, he knew that the man could be right out dangerous, knew that the man had killed without hesitation. He had been intelligent and sharp witted – yet he had seen the man acting as if he were a small child, silly and foolish – not to mention idiotic sometimes. He had been brave and courageous – yet, he knew that his father had been afraid of many things, that he had not trusted easily. He had been a stubborn man with great dignity – yet, he had seen him crying bitter tears in front of him, had seen him laughing until he had lain at the floor, about things that hadn't been funny at all. He had been powerful in his magic – yet, he never had shown it outside of battle, his entire childhood he hadn't known how powerful the man had been. Only when he had been older had he witnessed him fighting.
He had been strong and erect – yet, he soon had outgrown the much smaller and slender man, at the latest when he had been thirteen or fourteen, much to the man's annoyance. He had been polite and civil – yet, he had been so casual and informal at the same time. He had been warm and caring, always worrying – yet, he had been so cold sometimes just as well. He had been calm and peaceful – yet, he had been nervous, restless, tense, while being relaxed at the same time.
He had been such an open man – yet, he had been so closed up at the same time, mysterious even. No one knew where he had come from – aside from Albus maybe, but the headmaster never had given any information away. Janos Amity simply had been there one day, had appeared out of nowhere. He simply had been there one day and he had taken him from his abusive biological father who had killed his mother when he had been three years old.
Yes, his father had been a walking contradiction – yet, he never had cared. His father had loved him with all his heart, he knew, and he had loved his father back equally.
If he had him here just one more day.
But he had known that the man would die. He had known it since nine months. The man had kept his dignity and his pride, his strength and his sharp wit, his sarcasm and his courage until the end, until this very day, but during the past nine months he had seen him dying, had seen him getting more and more tired, exhausted, weaker – had watched him … simply dying.
They had lived at Amity Manor for long years, since he was about five, but when it had been clear that the unknown illness his father had suffered from would lead to his death, that he would die, he had asked him to come to Hogwarts so he was near, so he could care for him, so … so he simply was there.
He had feared that he would have to fight with the stubborn man over this, that he would have to use all his Slytherin traits to get the stubborn and independent man to really leave his Manor and come to Hogwarts. But again – like so often – he had been surprised by his father. The man had smiled at him, the green eyes shining with something he never had seen in them before, and he had said … he had said that he would be glad to come back to his only home he'd ever had.
He hadn't understood the man's words, until he had watched his father the moment he had come back to Hogwarts.
Of course Janos Amity had been to Hogwarts before, when he had been a student here, when he, Severus, had been a student here, and later again when the man had been a teacher here.
Despite his tears he couldn't help laughing at the memories for a moment.
His father always had been so impatient, unable to wait until he, Severus, got to Kings Cross with the Hogwarts Express for the holidays like all the other students and he always had come to Hogwarts, getting him home personally. And he always had been unable to release him early so he could ride the train to Hogwarts after the break but brought him to school in the evening personally.
Some of the other children had teased him with this, none of the other parents had acted like this, so overprotective, so clingy and so like a mother-hen. But one – Severus the child never had cared about it, because he had felt safe, loved and wanted by his father's antics, second – Severus the man still felt cared for, loved and wanted by the memories of his overprotective father's antics, and third – most of them soon had stopped their teasing anyway when they had seen the man together with Albus Dumbledore, chatting lightly, laughing and joking with the headmaster, calling the older wizard by his given name, calling him an old fool even and teasing him. And the rest of them had stopped their teasing the moment Janos Amity had entered the Defense against the Dark Arts classroom at the beginning of their second year.
And yes – his father had loved Dumbledore too, just like he in return had been loved by the headmaster as well and whenever he had come to Hogwarts to get his son for the holidays, or to bring him after the break, he had always had a chat with the old wizard before or after.
He didn't remember much of the beginning. He knew that everything had been a hassle.
His father – his biological father – had been drunk one day, again, and he had killed his mother in his drunken state. He had been there, and he had seen it, he didn't remember the entire event, he only had been three after all, but parts of it. He remembered his fear, he remembered the whiskey bottle laying at the floor beside his mother's bleeding form … he remembered Tobias Snape approaching him, another bottle in his hand … he remembered a force of something that had blasted his father away from him, against the opposite wall, something he now knew had been a very, very powerful blasting course … and he remembered the strange boy kneeling beside him … taking him away from that place.
He still wasn't sure if his father really had been a young man of age like he had pretended back then. He knew that at the ministry, at the office of child welfare, he had said he was of age, but he remembered his father's face back then, the moment he slowly had reached out for him, had taken him into his arms and had carried him out of that house. He still remembered that moment the clearest, knew that this particular moment was one he never ever again in his entire life would forget, and he still remembered how young his father had looked, rather like a child himself than like a young man.
But however old his father really had been, he had adopted him the very same day. It had been a bit of a problem, Albus and his father had told him one day when he had been older, during one of their many chats. And not because the ministry didn't believe his age, but because his father had possessed nothing aside from the clothes he had worn, a small pouch with a bit of wizarding money and his wand. An unregistered wand, no less. He'd had no home, no job, not even a known name or past. There hadn't been a school record, no medical record or anything else.
But Albus Dumbledore had been there too, at the Ministry, this particular day, and he had taken matters in his own hand, had taken them both to Hogwarts where Janos had finished his NEWTs.
This chat had been one of the many times when Severus had asked his father where exactly he had come from, had asked him about his past as he knew nothing of the man from before he had taken him as his son, but Janos only had smirked at him wordlessly while Albus had chuckled, neither of the two men revealing anything more to him.
Well, they had lived at Hogwarts, back then after Janos had adopted him, and he remembered that his father had studied a lot, and that he often had been ill. Well, he didn't remember that exactly, but he remembered that Albus often had been worried, as had been Minerva and Poppy. And he as well still remembered that he sometimes had been with the headmaster or the Gryffindor head of house when Janos had been ill.
He still didn't know what exactly had happened to his father.
Well – that was not entirely true, he did know, part of it at least. He for example knew that he had been abused, that much was clear. Janos Amity was his father after all and he had seen the man without a shirt more than once, and he had seen all the scars that littered the thin body, scars that had been deep and scars that had overlain others, layers of scars. And while as a small child he had been oblivious to them, as a teenager he had started to ask questions.
When he had asked for the first time, bluntly, his father had been startled, had looked at him nearly frightened, and for a moment he had looked as if he would storm out of the room, as if he would blast something apart – or rather someone. But then he had sighed and he had lowered his head.
"There are things in my life I do not wish to share, Severus." He seriously had said. Then he had put on his shirt and for a long time he had refused to change in front of him, had left the room for doing so. Severus had felt bad about his questions, had blamed himself for making his father feeling uncomfortable, but the moment the older wizard had realized how he had felt, how downcast he was, he had taken him aside. He had been sitting down into the chair behind his desk and he had pulled him close until he had been standing between the man's knees, his father's hands holding his wrists, like he so often had done.
"While I do not wish to share those particular things with you, child, it neither does mean that I would be angry with you for asking questions, nor that I would love you less." He had said. "It simply is too personal for me to share it with you. You will have to respect this, as I will have to respect that you won't share everything with me the moment you become older. Every human being has the right of privacy and this is private. Too private to share it with anyone."
He had accepted his father's answer and a few weeks later it had been forgotten and Janos had been back to not caring if he, Severus, saw him without a shirt, saw his scars. Later, when he had become older, he had watched the scars closer, sometimes unable to keep himself from narrowing his eyes at them, earning a lifted eyebrow from his father for it, and soon he had realized what had caused them, what had caused those scars.
His father had been beaten. And he had been beaten badly.
And from that moment on he couldn't help getting angry whenever he had seen those scars. He never ever again had asked him about them, had respected his father's privacy, but he never had stopped wondering. And over the years he had learned from unthought comments – as rare as they had been – and from nightmares he got his father out of in the middle of the night sometimes, that the man had been abused by his uncle for years and years before fighting in a dangerous war.
He had tried to find out about Janos Amity's family, his uncle especially, a man called Vernon, but in the end he was sure that the man had been a muggle as there had been no wizard by that name. The name Vernon Amity didn't exist in the wizarding world – nor in the muggle world. Regrettably – he would have liked paying this great-uncle of his a visit.
Later – just recently actually – he had become a Potions Master, and as one couldn't become a Potions Master without an education in the arts of healing, he again had learned something new about his father, something the older man had never shared a hint about with him, like with his scars. He had learned that his father was not simply slender, but that he was skinny and definitely too small, and the healer in him had started to turn his wheels within his head.
His father often had been ill when he had been younger, and he often had noticed him wincing during the past years, when he had moved the wrong way or too quickly – or without thinking. And he often had noticed that his father had been eating too little, that he even often had simply been sitting beside him, just watching him eating without doing so himself, that he even sometimes simply had forgotten to eat. He always had ensured that he, Severus, had regular meals and that he could eat as much as he needed and wanted, but he himself had been careless about his own eating habits – and his sleeping habits, by the way.
And still, after years, he had been skinny, too thin, and suddenly he had realized that his father not only had been abused, but that he had been neglected, starved, to a point where his growth had been affected just as well. And this realization had made him just as angry as had the scars he had seen on his father's body. But still – he didn't know how to find this great-uncle of his.
What he also knew about his father, was that he had been fighting in a war and he had tried to find out which war his father had fought in, but that had been just as unsuccessful as his search for any family member of his father. He wasn't an expert when it came to history of magic, but he had researched books over books and then even more books, without success. For a fleeting moment he even had considered a muggle war – yet, he had known his father. And he meanwhile had known his magical powers, and somehow he just had known that it had not been a muggle war, but a wizarding one.
And he also had known that it was not something that was just told, stories to tell a child while sitting beside the fireplace, comments that were made in a moment of imagination or simple nightmares about something that was just ridiculous. No, it had been something that had been real. And that together with the fact that he never had learned anything about his father's family, that the man had been as strange as he actually had been, together with the fact that the man sometimes even had seemed to have lived a life in a different time – somehow he sometimes wondered if Janos Amity maybe – just maybe, mind you – had come from another time.
But even if – he wouldn't have cared, because he had loved that man like he never had loved someone else – except Lily maybe. But Lily, he had loved in a different way. With Lily he'd had a complete different relationship than he'd had with his father, of course.
He had loved Lily deeply. And Lily had loved him back – for some time. But then … well …
When Lily had ended their relationship he had been deeply depressed, but when Lily had started to date Potter, he had started to become bitter and harsh. Well, he always had been a harsh man.
Janos Amity had been a harsh man and as kind and gentle, and friendly as he always had been towards him, Severus, he had been harsh and tough to others and he, Severus, had become a similar man. Not as harsh and tough as his father had been, but not as … well … soft as the Weasleys for example, or others were. And he was sure that without his father taking him away from Tobias Snape and being there for him after Lily had started dating with Potter, he would have become a really bitter man, not only a bit harsh and tough, demanding, but really bitter and dark.
But his father had been there for him, always. And his father had helped him to move on, never mind what.
Again the knot in his chest, in his stomach, in his throat threatened to overwhelm him and again he hitched a breath, a sob making its way to escape, but he didn't mind the tears that started to fall anew. Not here at Amity Manor, and not for the reason of his father having died just an hour ago.
"Severus?" The soft voice of Albus Dumbledore startled him out of his misery and he looked up at the older wizard, at the headmaster. He hadn't even heard the fire flaring when Albus had come through, but still he didn't mind. "I know that it is the most improper time to ask this of you, Severus, but Lily is about to deliver and there are complications. I would ask Poppy, but …"
Without answering, just giving the older wizard a curt nod, he got off his armchair.
Yes, he was miserable, not simply mourning, but right out miserable. His father, the one person that had loved him unconditionally, always, never mind what he had done, the one person he had loved back just as much, the one person he had trusted without question, the one person he would have died for, the one person … his father had died just an hour ago.
But he still loved Lily too, and he never would have risked her life over his misery. He would not risk this, and neither would have his father risked this, nor would he have wanted him to risk this.
Taking his emergency potions kit without any comment he gave a court nod at Albus and then stepped into the floo, stepping through to the Potter Estate.
Breåk· … ·~†~*~*~*~*~*~†~· … ·Łine
July, 31st 1980 – Potter Estate – 10:14 pm
Holding the small and fragile body of Harry James Potter in his arms he approached the bed Lily lay in, his face unreadable, a mask he had schooled over the years behind which he hid his emotions as well as his father always had done and at the thought of the man his chest clenched painfully again.
The reason however as to why he had his mask in place right now was not the thought of his now dead father, but the fact that – yet again – James Potter had proven what an useless imbecile he was. When he had come to the Potter Estate an hour ago, there had been no James Potter around and he had frowned, asking Albus where Lily's husband was.
The headmaster's face had become dark and disappointed at the question and Severus hadn't needed an answer anymore, knowing that – again – the man had gone out with Black, that again he had abandoned his wife, even in such a situation. Albus had told him that Potter had been there, shortly, that he had informed him about his wife being about to deliver their child, but Potter – apparently – had looked at him with a sneer on his face and then had left, leaving his wife and his unborn son to the headmaster's hands.
Albus hadn't told him how disappointed he was in Potter – or in Black for that matter – but Severus had known this nevertheless, one gaze into the headmaster's tired face had been enough and he had known.
Lily had not awakened yet and he knew that it would take another hour for the young woman to regain consciousness, he knew his potions well after all, he himself had brewed them, after all.
He had given her a strong sleeping potion when it had been clear that natural delivery wouldn't be possible, that they would have to get the child with a surgery and for a moment he had been close to panicking. But then he had closed his eyes and he had imagined his father's face, had imagined his father's voice, his calmness and his reassuring eyes, and then he had taken a deep breath and he had done what had been necessary.
And so right now he was holding the quiet child in his arms, wrapped into a soft blanket after bathing the little creature, unable to keep his own dark eyes from the green ones that watched him with a trust and with a calmness that robbed him off his breath, that made his heart clench painfully, that caused his fingers to tremble, and that reminded him of his father, of Janos Amity.
Oblivious to his own actions he ran his thumb over the small face of the infant he was holding, ran his thumb over the soft skin of the small nose, directly between the child's eyes, while the tiny fingers of the child grasped the thumb of his other hand, barely able to enclose the much larger finger and he looked down, frowning.
How could this small child, this boy, being alive in this world since barely an hour, displaying so much trust and calmness already? How could this small child, this boy, being able to unsettle him so completely that he felt his world turning upside down in a matter of moments only? How could this small child tuck at his heart so strongly while being Lily's son when he at the same time wanted nothing else than simply placing it into the empty crib beside the woman's bed when he thought of the boy being Potter's son?
Watching the child's wrinkled face screwing up in its sleep, the tip of the small tongue slowly sticking out for a moment as if to shove something out of the small mouth his frown deepened.
If only this child were not James Potter's son. If only …
Closing his eyes he growled at himself. 'What ifs' would not get him anywhere, and he knew it. 'What ifs' only would hurt him more, and he knew this as well. It does no good to linger at 'what ifs', his father had said often enough to him, accept things as they are and do not linger at 'what ifs', because it will not get you anywhere. And this child was James Potter's son. He had Lily's eyes, yes, and for a moment he couldn't help smiling at the thought, but he already had Potter's unruly mop of black hair.
Well, not as unruly as Potter's had been, he had to admit, but he knew that it was due only to the fact that the thin and soft baby hair was not able to be so unruly. But it was black and he knew that it would be an unruly mop one day. And knowing Potter, he would spoil and raise the child as a bully like he himself had been one.
And nevertheless, still his thumb ran over the soft skin between the small child's eyes, unconsciously, betraying his thoughts, causing the child to close its eyes and to fall asleep in his arm, while he, Severus, waited for Lily to wake up and to wrap her newborn son into her arms.
Breåk· … ·~†~*~*~*~*~*~†~· … ·Łine
July, 31st 1980 – Hogwarts, headmaster's office – 11:14 pm
Severus was still at the Potter Estate, looking after Lily and little Harry as James still had not returned from his – outing with Black, and he knew how much it pained the man being there right now. He had seen the ever so stoic man nearly losing his self-control when the small child had opened his eyes for the first time, had looked at the man and he could understand. He could understand, because he had seen it too, the child's eyes, the green eyes that had looked at the Potions Master with such an amount of trust and with such calmness – it simply had been breathtaking.
It surely would not have been as breathtaking, had the child not have had those green eyes, the same green eyes as had his mother, Lily, Severus still loved so deeply, the same green eyes as Janos Amity had had. And it surely would not have been as breathtaking, had it not have been just two hours after Janos Amity had died that this child looked up at Severus with those same green eyes, with the same trust and calmness Severus' father always had displayed in his green eyes towards his son. And it surely would not have been as breathtaking if the love between Severus and his father had not been as deep as it had been.
And he knew how deep this love had been.
He had been there from the beginning, from the moment Janos Amity had appeared out of nowhere, until the end, until the man had died and only now … just a few days ago he had learned that Janos always had known that he would die, that he even had known the exact day he would die.
He couldn't help shuddering at the thought and with a nearly strangled sob he looked over at the painting on the wall to his right, beside the fireplace, at the painting of the man he was thinking about right now, the only painting in his office that was not a former headmaster of Hogwarts, school of witchcraft and wizardry but a friend, before he buried his face into his hand.
"You still have not trusted us, Janos." He whispered into his hands. "After all those years and despite all the love we gave you, you still have not trusted us, not completely, not as you ought to."
He lifted his head and looked up at the painting again, but there was no answer, the raven haired man only sitting in his armchair near the fireplace at Amity Manor, sleeping, and he knew that there would be no answer. Not now. Not before he had rested enough from a tiring and strenuous experience, and again Albus dropped his head into his hands.
It had taken him seventeen years and two months to finally find out more, to finally realize what exactly had happened the night Janos had so suddenly appeared, from May, 14th 1963 until July, 21st 1980, ten days before the young man had died with … what? With barely thirty-five years as he had made them all believe? Or with thirty-three years as he really had been? He didn't know, but he didn't know so much these days.
Yes, he knew more right now, after he'd had a long and – for Janos at least – tiring conversation ten days ago, but there still was so much he didn't know. He still didn't know the why. For a moment he thought he had known the why. It had been clear from the very beginning on that the young Janos Amity had lived a very harsh life, that he had been abused in the most cruel way imaginable, and for a moment, when he thought about the love between the young man and his son, Severus Snape, he had known the why, but Janos had only shaken his head and had told him that the contrary had been the case. Not love, but dislike – and yet respect for a brave man.
And so – no, he still didn't know the why. And he never would find out.
If he just could have told Severus. About the day Janos would die. The man that had been so miserable these days maybe could have prepared himself. Severus never had shown Janos how miserable he was, but he was sure that Janos had known nevertheless. The young wizard had known his son like he had known himself after all.
And about anything else he had learned that day, ten days ago, it maybe would make Severus feeling better. But Janos had made him promise that he wouldn't, had even demanded a wizard's oath of him. Not an unbreakable vow, Janos Amity never would have done that, but a wizard's oath he had demanded and he, Albus had given it, even if he hadn't understood why Janos had been so persistent with this, why he didn't want Severus to know, Janos had right out refused to tell him without a wizard's oath.
Of course he had tried to find out more throughout the years, had searched wizarding family books in the hope he would stumble over the name of Amity, but if he had been honest with himself, then he had known from the beginning that Janos had made his name up. And he definitely now knew the reason as to why – even if he had to admit, he had had his speculations for some time yet, for some years. This child simply was too strange.
But never mind what, never mind that the child had lied to him – and he had known that the boy had never had any other chance than lying about that – never mind that the child had been so strange, had come out of nowhere, he had loved the boy as deeply as if he were his own. And … somehow they had been a family. Somehow not only he had loved the boy like a son, but he knew that Janos had loved him back just as much.
"You are my elder, Albus, and so I will respect your opinion on this." The boy one day had said. "But as I am of age, you are in no condition to enunciate a forbiddance. I have fought before, Albus, and I am still alive, and I will not sit back now and watch while people die again."
Yes, Janos had respected him as his elder.
If he just had trusted him as much as he had respected him, if he just had told him everything from the beginning on, maybe then they would have found a solution throughout the years, maybe then Severs wouldn't have lost his father today. But ten days – how could he have found a solution in ten days only? It had been impossible and he had told the young wizard. But Janos had only shaken his head, looking at him sadly.
"We all have our destination, Albus, and we all have a day when we will have to die." He had said. "I not only had the luck to know the day at which I would die, and to know that my death will not be needless, but I also had the luck to have a few very, very happy years despite my fears and knowledge. Do not try to find a solution for something that is beyond answers. I have lived on burrowed time anyway, I should have died long years ago, but fate, for once, had been kind and I do not regret one day of my life here with all of you. Do not question this same fate that had given me a second chance to make things right for once, please."
And so he hadn't.
He had wanted to scold the boy for his self-blaming, whatever he had blamed himself for, but he had not had the heart doing this, not with the knowledge that the boy would die in ten days, that he was tired and exhausted, barely able to keep awake any longer, and so he had allowed the young man to close his eyes and to fall asleep on the sofa in his office.
"Do not question this same fate that had given me a second chance to make things right for once, please."
He was sure that he never ever again would forget this particular sentence, knowing what it held. Since he had known that young man, he had known that there had been some things Janos had blamed himself for, and yet – he somehow always had known that he should not, that the child had no reason to blame himself. The child had killed, yes, but he had been in a war. And war never went without bringing death and destruction.
He of course had taken the young man to Poppy the moment they had entered the castle, back then, 1963, at a sunny day in the beginning of August, and the diagnostic the medi witch had made had been horrendous. It had been clear that the boy had been abused for years, but it also had been clear that he had fought. And it had been clear that he had fought for life, as well as it had been clear that he had fought more than one attacker and for a very long time. The child simply had fought in a battle, had fought in a war.
Of course he had checked the boy's wand back then, and of course he had found out about the use of unforgivables. The child had killed.
But he had not been stupid enough to judge the child by this, considering the state the boy had been in, and coming to the conclusion that the child had fought in a war – it was not so strange that he had killed. It had been sad, yes. It had been startling, yes, that too. But it had not been too strange.
"If I only could have done more." He murmured into his hands, looking up at the painting of the young man again. But still, Janos Amity slept on in his armchair. "But in the end you have been right, my boy, your death has not been needless and your son has seen to it."
Because by the end of the day, exactly two hours after Janos Amity had died, fourteen minutes past nine o'clock in the evening, Harry Potter had been born.
Breåk· … ·~†~*~*~*~*~*~†~· … ·Łine
To be continued
Next time in By the end of the day
July, 31st 1981 – Janos Amity's first anniversary of death and Severus reflecting his life his father had offered him.
Added author's note
thank you for reading - and yes, I would be grateful if you took the time to review this chapter too … thank you …